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Bear Flag and Bay State in the Civil War: The Californians of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry

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ISBN-13: 978-0786411221
ISBN-10: 0786411228
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Editorial Reviews


"Well-researched...fascinating." --The Civil War News

"Well done, well illustrated." --The Civil War Courier --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Since retiring from the Navy in 1998, Thomas E. Parson performs maintenance on monuments, cannons, and historical markers at Shiloh National Military Park. He lives in Shiloh, Tennessee.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 219 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786411228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786411221
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,027,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on January 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Parson here relates the story of the five companies of men recruited from California (the only ones from that state to fight in the East) that made up almost half of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry regiment; in so doing he actually gives the history of the entire regiment. Originally a single company was raised from the Bear Flag State, and they were known as The California Hundred (100 men = one company). After they arrived in Boston, it was found difficult to raise additional companies there, so the governor of Massachusetts requested from California additional recruits. In a short while, 400 men were recruited and were on their way (by ship via the Isthmus of Panama) to join their fellow Californians.

They were led by Col. Charles Russell Lowell of the famous Lowell family of Boston. A highly regarded officer and leader of men, he died from wounds received at Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864. Parson traces the proceedings of the 2nd MA Cavalry from its formation through all their engagements, including actions in the northern Shenandoah in 1862 against Mosby, scouting and pickett duty just west of Washington, and, after being assigned to Sheridan's Army of the Shenandoah, much action throughout the Valley in 1864. After witnessing the surrender at Appomattox, the regiment was mustered out. It was a little depressing to learn that, in typical government fashion, Washington at first refused to pay for the regiment's return home to Californian until a lawyer brought suit for the men. Three months later, the government relented and paid. I wonder how many men couldn't or wouldn't wait the three months and went home on their own? Even more, I wonder how many took the overland route (Oregon-California Trail) rather than going by ship?
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